EAST MADISON — Residents celebrated East Madison Days on Sunday with perfect weather, a parade, a sit-down luncheon and a first-time look at the town’s new History House museum.

Organizer Cathy Edgerly said the History House, which opened last month, is now a showcase for the rich history of East Madison, with its families, farms, small factories and many mills.

“They started it last summer, and we had an open house in June; some of the local people helped build it,” Edgerly said Sunday from the fire station next to the History House on East Madison Road. “This started when we had the bicentennial in 2004 — the Madison bicentennial.”

The History House was built by contractor Paul Ouellette all with donated time and materials.

Historical documents, artifacts and countless clippings and photocopies of newspaper accounts of the village have been collected and assembled by Dassie Jackson. Before the new museum was built, the items were displayed once a year in the meeting room at the fire station, then dismantled and taken home, Edgerly said.

How they have a permanent home, she said.

“We had a Grange supper and we had the parade and it was popular, we just continued, some of it, every year,” Edgerly said. “We have a talent show on Friday night at the Grange hall; then Saturday night we had a quilt show and a bake sale and a bean supper Saturday night. This morning we had the parade.

“It’s just a community effort; the Grange, the East Madison Historical Association the Fire Department helps — it’s community, that’s what we want, community.”

Edgerly is secretary and treasurer of the Historical Association and master of the East Madison Grange. The Grange is still a fully operating organization with about 25 members, she said.

The History House also has on display the bell from the old church in East Madison village, which closed in the 1970s, photographs of the mills, including a large worsted mill, slate from the village’s two slate quarries and artifacts from the caulk factory, which made spikes — caulks — for special boots worn by river log drivers. Edgerly estimated there were 10-15 different mills along Lower Mills Road during the village’s boom times.

Gary Malbon, president of the East Madison Historical Association, said new items for the museum are coming in at such a pace that they soon may outgrow the place. He said the association was established a year ago.

“Since we have opened up, now people have a place to go with some of the artifacts they didn’t want to throw away,” Malbon said. “Everybody’s got something, however minor it may be, that’s too good to throw away, but they don’t want it. It’s ideal to donate it to us.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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